Cash bail will only be sought in limited misdemeanor cases as required by law and pre-trial detention will be pursued only in cases where less restrictive measures have proven ineffective and where pre-trial detention will improve victim and public safety
San Francisco, CA – Today, San Francisco District Attorney Brooke Jenkins announced that the District Attorney’s Office established a policy that will only seek cash bail in limited misdemeanor cases as required by law. The policy ensures that people who are incarcerated pre-trial will not be determined by their wealth. Pre-trial detention will be sought for felony offenses when less restrictive measures have proven ineffective to protect victims and public safety.
“Cash bail unfairly penalizes those with less financial means and disproportionately affects defendants of color,” said District Attorney Brooke Jenkins. “Protecting victims and ensuring public safety are my top priorities. We will not shy away from holding offenders accountable, but we will not perpetuate further injustice and inequities.”
Research conducted by the San Francisco Office of Treasurer and Tax Collector’s Financial Justice Project has shown that cash bail strips millions of dollars from low-wealth communities, and has disproportionately impacted communities of color, without making our communities safer. In 2021, the California Supreme Court ruled that the use of cash bail is unconstitutional for defendants who can not afford it and that courts must consider a defendant’s ability to pay when setting bail.
The San Francisco District Attorney’s Office will evaluate every pre-trial release decision on an individualized basis considering victim safety, the protection of the public, the seriousness of the offense charged, any previous criminal record of the defendant, and the probability of the defendant’s appearance in court. Public safety and the safety of the victim shall be the primary considerations.
Where applicable, pre-trial detention may be sought for felony offenses, involving:
1. Violence on another person
2. Sexual assault on another person
3. A threat of great bodily harm to another person
4. An unreasonable risk to victim or public safety
5. Repeated criminal conduct that poses a risk to public safety
6. Repeated failures to abide by less restrictive alternatives; and
7. Repeated failures to appear in court as required
Before pre-trial detention is considered, the District Attorney’s Office will consider less restrictive alternatives including protective orders, electronic monitoring, and home detention. The pre-trial detention policy will be used in concert with the Office’s new policy to hold drug dealers accountable and protect our communities.
The pre-trial release and detention policy takes effect today.